Spaeder: We might not see baseball for the next few years

Chris Lingebach
June 15, 2020 - 11:09 am

Negotiations between Major League Baseball and its players reached their nadir over the weekend, striking a chord that reeks of bitterness.

The MLB Players Association rejected the league's proposal for a 72-game season, which would pay players at 75 percent of their pro-rated salaries, issuing a harshly worded statement saying it is ceasing negotiations and urging MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred to enact his power to unilaterally schedule a season for however many games he sees fit.

The league fired back hours later, accusing the players of failing to negotiate "in good faith," leaving that the owners will consult with one another and "determine the best course to bring baseball back to our fans."

That this is where both sides are, months into negotiations at a time when the sport would normally be in full swing, shows just how wide the chasm is and how perilous the lingering effects of these negotiations could be toward long-term labor peace.

With the current collective bargaining agreement set to expire after the 2021 season, we could be witnessing not only the prelude to intense negotiations of the future, but, potentially, the beginnings of a player strike.

"I think we're in trouble," MLB statistician Ryan Spaeder told The Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan. "Because we might be in a spot right now where we might not see baseball for the next few years."

"You really think it's gonna get to that?" he was asked.

"It could, at this point," Spaeder said. "I still think there's gonna be baseball this year, I really do, but we're at the point right now where there could potentially be no baseball for 2020 or for 2021. Because the players are treating this like the CBA – it's not – and the owners are not giving an inch."

Even if some semblance of the 2020 season can be salvaged, Spaeder believes – presuming Manfred exercises his power to initiate the shortened season – that almost guarantees a player strike in 2021. Potentially complicated matters further, if Manfred does step in, the owners are under no obligation to agree to his terms.

"No, they don't, and I think that's what's gonna happen," Spaeder said. "I think Manfred's gonna step in, he's gonna do a 54-game season, and then we're gonna see a strike next year. And if that's what it comes down to – if Manfred steps in, then that's absolutely what's gonna happen. There will be a strike in 2021."